Manang claim third trophy

  • Edge arch rivals NPC 1-0 in final
  • African striker Afeez nets 85th minute winner
- PRADEEP MENYANGBO, Kathmandu

Mar 6, 2016-

African recruit Olawale Oladipo Afeez struck an 85th minute winner handing Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) the 18th International Invitational Budha Subba Gold Cup title with a 1-0 victory over Nepal Police Club (NPC) on Saturday. 

It was the third title for MMC in the season after winning the 14th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup and Suman Bhomjan Memorial International Gold Cup. The victory was also a sweet revenge for MMC who were edged by NPC in tie breakers during the Birat Gold Cup quarter-finals 10 days ago. MMC grabbed a cash purse of Rs 400,000 and NPC took Rs 200,000.

The defeat was huge blow to NPC’s aspirations of establishing themselves one more time in domestic football having gone through a massive slide due to ageing footballers and inexperienced players. They had won the Birat Gold Cup for their first title in the last one year.

It was MMC who dominated the first half and created few scoring chances but failed to convert them. Another African recruit Sissoko was in hand to provide MMC an 18th minute lead but his close range shot on a corner from Sujal Shrestha flew over. Four minutes later, skipper Anil Gurung’s header on Bishal Shrestha’s corner went wide.

The only notable move for NPC came in the 39th minute when striker Jumanu Rai launched a powerful strike from the area only to be denied by MMC goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong as first half ended on a goalless draw. MMC kept piling pressure in the second half and just as it seemed the match was going to be decided through tie breaker, Afeez came up with the winner.

Hemanta Gurung’s corner perfectly found an unmarked Afeez inside the area and the lanky striker rose to his highest heading home for a perfect finish. Afeez later walked away with the player of the final and highest scorer’s honour grabbing Rs 30,000. Chemjong, Gurung (midfielder), Anil (striker), Thsering Lhopsang Gurung (coach) of MMC and Suraj BK (defender) of NPC were other individual winners. Each individuals got Rs 11,000 apiece.Chemjong also won the best player of the tournament award that won him a motorbike worth Rs 180,000.

Published: 06-03-2016 10:11

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